Bernheim Nears 4 Years Fighting LG&E Pipeline and Condemnation, Still Fighting for Property Rights, Natural Land, and Clean Water

By Andrew Berry

For nearly 4 years now Bernheim has been under threat from a proposed Louisville Gas and Electric (LG&E) natural gas pipeline in Bullitt County. LG&E remains locked in a legal battle after suing Bernheim and numerous other landowners for condemnation to build the 12-mile pipeline across sensitive land harboring endangered species and rare habitats. The pipeline route would cross Bernheim’s Cedar Creek Wildlife Corridor, which is subject to state-held conservation easements and federal deed restrictions intended to ensure protection of forests, wildlife, and water resources. While this has been a long and difficult defense, Bernheim remains committed to continuing the fight.

PROTECTING landowner property rights, PRESERVING natural land, PROVIDING clean water, DEFENDING the legal protections of conservation easements and conservation deed restrictions, and ENSURING opportunities in nature for future generations are just a few of the reasons we are fighting this pipeline. Now is a critical time for us all to elevate our voices and help move towards sustainable, healthy, and resilient communities that allow for nature and humans to coexist. This LG&E pipeline is being proposed at the wrong place, at the wrong time. The pipeline would pump hydrocarbons for at least the next 70 years and beyond, disregarding climate initiatives and a shift towards sustainable energy sources that support resilient future growth.

Cost estimates for the proposed pipeline have risen from about $25 million to well over $74 million. This is just to build, a cost that undoubtedly will continue to rise due to engineering and maintenance, and ultimately will be charged to LG&E customers. The pipeline route would cross Bernheim’s Cedar Creek Wildlife Corridor, a sensitive natural area subject to a state-held conservation easement and federal deed restrictions intended to ensure protection of forests, wildlife, and clean water. The Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund and the Imperiled Bat Conservation Fund provided funds to purchase this important natural area, and as a condition for that support, Bernheim agreed to protect the natural land and water in perpetuity.

Landslides are a constant threat on land the pipeline proposes to cross. This several-mile section is covered in active landslides and slips, springs, seeps, cliffs, outcroppings and mature forests. Any construction that removes vegetation and rocks will cause further instability on these rapidly deteriorating slopes. This may lead to catastrophic landslides impacting major transmission lines and sensitive natural areas. We are calling for a full review by qualified and independent geologists and engineers to assess the current situation. Since the original survey was completed, there has been new land movement that further renders this route unsuitable for the pipeline. Additionally, there are 71 stream crossings, 6,271 linear feet of stream impacted, and several springs and wetlands to be destroyed or damaged during construction along the entire route.

Legal defense continues now on 2 levels of jurisdiction: the Kentucky Public Service Commission and Bullitt County Circuit Court. Our case in the Bullitt County Circuit Court will begin on January 10, 2023. We continue to voice concerns and defend our rights with the Public Service Commission, the KY Division of Water, the Army Corp of Engineers, and other agencies issuing permits or providing regulatory review. Simply stated, we have found the process does not favor the individual landowner’s property rights and does little to fully protect clean water and natural lands. Despite the uphill challenges, we continue to push forward hoping to ultimately improve land and water conservation regulation. We also feel an urgent need for protecting rights of landowners during a time of increasing infrastructure and development projects.

Your voice and support, of any amount, will help continue the fight against this proposed LG&E pipeline. The defense of natural land and clean water is critical now and into the future. Thank you for STANDING WITH BERNHEIM as we push to strive towards allowing nature and humans to coexist and remain resilient for future generations.

Pipeline FAQ’s, November 2022 >>

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